To understand the law thoroughly and to appreciate them in the light of their development, one needs to trace them back to their roots, sources and origins. The laws of the New Sudan invite such an undertaking, as they are intimately linked to the needs and aspirations of men and women in the South Sudanese society. As society changes, we expect the laws to change as well.
Normally, laws are a reflectiion of a country’s constitution, but as the New Sudan has no constitution yet, its laws had to be built on resolutions taken at the occasion of the SPLM Convention of 1994 which later become the charter of the movement.
When on 16 May 1983, the second civil war erupted in the Sudan and the people of South Sudan took up arms against the national government in Khartoum, the leadership of the SPLM/A initiated the Punitive Law to regulate and govern the conduct of the armed forces.
In 1984, a committee headed by the late Major Gai and Joseph Oduho drafted the Penal and Discipline Law of the SPLA; signed by the Chairman - these laws remained in force until 1994.
Ten years later, the laws were repealed through the 1994 SPLA Act; however, the SPLM/A leadership later on reinstated the 1984 laws except for their civilian provisions, applying now only to the military.
In 2003, the 1984 Laws were repealed for another time and replaced by the 2003 SPLA Act. It should be mentioned that in 1995 not less than 23 committees had been set up by the leadership of the SPLM, amongst them a committee headed by Ayuen Alier, which was to concentrate on basic law, such as the Penal Code and Criminal and Civil Procedures. Eventually, there were 16 laws recommended by the convention to be drafted but after proof-reading, only 4 laws were published (with a lot of typographical errors).
In 2002, a law review committee was formed by the Chairman of the SPLM/A. It was headed by the Commissioner for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, Michael Makuei and its members comprised of Army, Police, Prison and Wildlife commissions that reviewed 16 laws and drafted 7 new laws, bringing the total number of laws to 23.
In order to allow more public discussion on the proposals made by the law review committee and to make amendments or changes of the laws possible, a 4-week long workshop in Rumbek was organized. However, many of the participants (and in particular, women) at the workshop were not happy about the way the discussions were being conducted. An issue was that the SPLM Chairman had turned them into provisional orders which was signed by the SPLM Chairman on June 26, 2003. These laws or ''provisional orders'' are still subject to endorsement by the National Liberation Council (NLC).
By Dong Samuel Luak - Secretary General of South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)
Laws, Legislations and Policies
Older versions of the Laws of South Sudan
The following list shows the laws signed by the Chairman:
- Child Act
- Agency Act
- Code of Criminal Procedure Act
- Contract Act
- Investment Promotion Act
- Judiciary Act
- Partnership Act
- Penal Code
- Southern Sudan Research Council Act
- Ministry of Legal Affairs and constitutional Development Organization Act
- Police Act
- The Forestry Commission Act
- The Traffic Act
- The Nationality Act
- The Central Bank Act
- Advocacy Act
- Wildlife Conservation Act
- Wildlife Forces Act
- The Insurance Act
- The High Judicial Council Act
- The SPLA Act
- Civil Procedure Act
- Public Corperation Act
- The Financial Institution Act
- The Evidence Act
- The Companies Act
- Cooperative Societies Act
- Non-Governmental Organization Act
- The Prison Act
- Interpretation of Laws and General Provisions Act
- Timber Utilization and Management Act
- Passport and Immigration Act
- The Investment Act
- The Telecommunication Corporation Act
- The Attorney General Chambers Act
- The Crops Training Centre Act
- The Agricultural Technology Training Centre Act
- The Agricultural Training Centre Act
- Ideas Act
- The Police General Regulation Act